Both are made for the same company, formerly based in Muncie, Indiana. They also own the Bernardin and Golden Harvest brands. Quality for all 4 is supposed to be the same despite the latter being cheaper in price.
Ball, Kerr and Golden Harvest are all made by the same company and as far as I can tell they're the same quality but they're each slightly different shapes. One brand is a little more slender and taller and one is squattier and rounder.
I am a journeyman die maker. The reason I say this is because people will argue the quality difference between a Chevrolet tailgate and a GMC (the more expensive vehicle) tailgate panel. I can tell you that the two are made on the same line using the same metal blanks and the same machines to form the parts. The only difference is what, in the industry, is called an "insert change". An "insert" is a section of the die that forms the panel and is unique to either the Chevrolet or GMC. Usually it is only the section that says either GMC or Chevrolet. Everything else on that panel is made the same. They pull the dies out of the line and do an "insert change" to continue on with the other style.
The same is true of glass jars. All the arguments about the difference in quality between one brand and another is only "perceived" differences. The glass is made in the same batch, the only differences are the molds - whether they say "Ball" or "Kerr" is only cosmetic.
I have for several years watched and read about peoples' "perceived" differences between the most popular brands and I have to say (finally) that it is only perceived, not actual. Tempered glass is tempered glass. It's not rocket science here, folks.
Last edited by suitcase_sally; 11/18/10 at 09:10 PM.
But, but, but! It's no big secret but Jarden's only owns the license to produce Ball jars. And since 1998, only the lids are made in Muncie, Indiana. The jars are made by various other glass companies. I suspect that the 3 main brands are made in the same factories for distribution in certain areas rather than transporting them for a thousand miles. If so, it would merely amount to changing molds and continue on making a different brand.
If you weigh the new Ball and Golden Harvest jars, they should weigh the same. The pints were identical weight several years ago. However, haven't had to buy any the past two years and thus can't confirm if there's been a recent change. If you have new of both, and a good scale, weigh them and report here.
The Balls often had a second cheaper line and for some years it was Drey's. Laughed all the way to the bank because no matter which was bought, they made money!
When I first started using Golden Harvest jars in the early 80's, they were made in California. Earlier this year, due to someone chastising the "inferior quality" of the Golden Harvest jars, I contacted the manufacturer and asked if the jars were still made in California and got a response from them saying "No, they are made right here with the other jars." The company rep said the only difference was in the packaging. I will search my computer and see if I can dredge up the email.
That makes sense. I have to confess after reading about some of the "heavier jars" from yesteryear, I weighed one of the old pints and compared it to a brand new one. The weight of the new one was actually a fraction of an ounce heavier.
And since we know that a pint is still a pint, and the size of the lids haven't changed, presumably that idea that the old ones were heavier is just perception.
Doesn't make me want to give up my oldie but goodies though.
Old ones indeed were much heavier. Just weighed 5 pint jars. Atlas from the 1940s weighs 11½ ounces. Square Ball from same period weighs 10½. Golden Harvest from several years ago is 9. Kerr from this year is 9. Ball from several years ago is 8½. Lowest I ever found with old mayo jars was 9½.